Do you know how to be happy?
Do you believe that happiness is something you cultivate or is it something that just finds you? In the many fairy tales we are told as children, we are made to believe that happiness is a magical thing that happens to us and that only the right circumstances can bring happiness. However, science tells us that only a tiny percentage of the variations in the happiness people experience can be explained by their circumstances. It appears that happiness, like many other things in life, does not just happen, but is shaped by one’s personality, thoughts, and behaviors. So, how do you make your own happiness?
Practice gratitude and satisfaction
The simplest strategy to finding and increasing happiness in life is to practice and show gratitude. There is a myriad of ways to practice gratitude—from sharing the good things that happen to you each day with a friend or partner to simply keeping a journal of the things you are grateful for. In a scientific experiment where participants were asked to note down the things they were appreciative for each day, their moods significantly improved from just this simple practice. The Journal of Happiness studies published a study that showed that merely showing gratitude to other people boosts a person’s life satisfaction and happiness while decreasing depressive symptoms.
Forgiveness is the path to happiness
Everyone is susceptible to emotional pain and suffering. But then, life brings both happiness and difficult times. We experience anger, loneliness, bitterness, resentment, guilt and other negative emotions often brought upon us by the people we love or those we associate with. Positive psychology research shows that one’s ability to forgive these transgressions or perceived vexations determines how attainable happiness is to them. Forgiveness offers both emotional and physical benefits. After all, compassion is associated with good health, psychological well-being, and positive relationships that are the basis of happiness.
Encourage and cheer for others
Having an appreciation for everything amazing in life and how people you interact with are is a fertile environment to cultivate happiness in oneself. Encourage others in whatever they are working for and cheer for them to see the brighter side of life. This will not only lead to better relationships but also bring productivity, fulfillment, peace, and contentment in your life. When a friend, family member, work associate or competitor is making progress. Celebrate with them in their victories, be grateful for their blessings, and openly show your support in their endeavors. Remember that what goes around comes around; sooner or later, the people you are encouraging and cheering for will be encouraging and cheering for you.
Move your body
Everyone knows the importance of physical exercise. We advocate for it to lose weight, eliminate stress, increase energy levels, enhance the immune system, and protect against cancer and heart conditions among others. Physical activity, be it exercise, dancing, climbing stairs, strolling, or walking the dog, helps improve the mood by releasing endorphins in the body. The adrenal rush makes you feel great, leaving you ‘blissed out’ and happy. Therefore, if you are leading a sedentary lifestyle, add an evening stroll to your schedule, walk to work every once in a while, or sign up for a spin or a yoga class to begin cultivating happiness in your life.
Know thyself, discover your passion, and find your purpose in life
There is a saying that a man can never find anything worthwhile in life or experience true happiness in life unless he knows himself. The only way to know oneself is through regular meditation. An important secret to real happiness is knowing, understanding, and respecting your nature—the three pillars of the individual blend. Throughout life, we fit into different stages that come with different responsibilities and interactions: child, sibling, student, employee, lover, boss, parent, etc. The transition from one role to another often brings destabilization that brings about stress and kicks happiness out the window. To find a balance through all these roles, find what you are truly passionate about and pursue a purpose in life you believe in as the basis of existence. Begin by meditating regularly
No one ever said being happy is easy; but every seer who has ever written about happiness says that this is a feeling and constant state of life that can be cultivated, nurtured, and sustained throughout life. If you are ready to seek happiness and lead the life you always dreamt about, you now know how to get started.